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First United Methodist Church is located at 45 N. Manning St. in Hillsdale. | Facebook

Hillsdale First United Methodist Church will host a free com­munity dinner this weekend, and they will collect dona­tions for the Karan Jenkins Preschool.

On Nov. 2, from 5 – 7 p.m., local res­i­dents can attend the church’s free com­munity dinner at 45 N. Manning St. According to the church’s website, the menu includes turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and pie. 

Jan Tesch — who oversees the church’s food needs — said vis­itors can sit down to eat or get a takeout dinner. The church has been hosting free com­munity dinners for several years, Tesch said, and it puts on four dinners a year, each of which gives dona­tions to a local non­profit.

“It’s to show the love of God to everybody. We are open to everybody: our neighbors, the com­munity,” Tesch said. “We know that non­profits need dona­tions to keep going.”

Tesch esti­mates about 200 people will show up at the November dinner, with 100 of those getting takeout dinners.

As part of receiving dona­tions from the attendees, non­profits also send in people to help run the meals. Tesch said people come to help in a variety of ways, including serving drinks and clearing tables. This is a good oppor­tunity for members of a non­profit to have a hand in the event, she said.

Karan Jenkins Preschool — which has been the recipient of the church’s November dinner in the past — will send board members, including parents, to vol­unteer at the dinner. According to Lead Teacher Tana Trombly, the board is com­prised of parents, herself, her asso­ciate teacher, and a church liaison. 

“The parents are welcome to bring the kids and help out,” Trombly said. “I know that a lot of the indi­viduals that come to enjoy the dinner also enjoy seeing the kids and watching them help out.”

Trombly said she finds the com­munity dinner special because of the people who come out and their will­ingness to give money. It’s also a good way to support and take part in the com­munity.

“It’s very heart­warming to have people come to this won­derful meal, and any­thing that they feel they would like to donate, all those pro­ceeds go to the school and help us greatly,” Trombly said. “We charge a small amount of tuition, but we’re not rolling in funds, so every­thing helps.”

Trombly said the school board is looking at using the pro­ceeds in a few dif­ferent ways. They are con­sid­ering putting them toward oper­a­tional costs, field trips for the stu­dents, and licensing fees.

The preschool has been housed in the First United Methodist Church building on and off since the school began in 1968. After the church’s most recent con­struction projects, Trombly said the teachers, parents, and children are happy to be back in the building.